What colour are you?


Imre Saluzinsky, the Australian‘s NSW politics reporter, wrote in today’s Australian about the Mayor of Leichhardt, Jamie Parker, and his prospective candidacy for the state seat of Balmain for the Greens. Most of the article is fairly reasonable analysis of the Balmain race and the Greens’ chance, although he mostly ignores the fact that Parker does not seem to have yet been preselected for the race:

And according to most observers and polls, he’ll win, creating history twice, by becoming the first Greens MP to crack the NSW lower house and by slaying Labor at its birthplace (the ALP was formed at Balmain’s Unity Hall Hotel, in 1891).

“We’re definitely within striking range,” is Mr Parker’s assessment.

In fact, Labor held on against the Greens in 2007 by a margin of just 3.75 per cent, and since then Ms Firth has copped plenty of political pain over Labor decisions to widen the Iron Cove Bridge and build a metro from the CBD to Rozelle.

Saluzinsky, however, veers off the rails in the last paragraph, again pushing his bizarre analysis of internal Greens politics:

According to the loose factionalism of his party, Mr Parker is a “blue Green” rather than a “red Green”. With a background in marketing rather than Stalinism, he carries none of the far-Left baggage of many senior NSW Greens.

It’s not the first time the old media has pushed a line about ideological divisions within the Greens. Indeed Saluzinsky pushed a similar line in an article about NSW Greens Senate candidate Lee Rhiannon three weeks ago:

“People constantly say that about us,” she tells Inquirer. “But I can show you the first document produced by the NSW Greens, in 1984, in which the environment is one of many issues. The Greens are an organisation where you’re looking at everything and the interactions of everything.”

Maybe, but the NSW Greens are frequently described as an uneasy alliance of urban guerillas and tree-huggers, with Rhiannon representing the former and her upper house colleague Ian Cohen representing the latter strain. This will make for some interesting dynamics if Rhiannon makes it into the senate. Federal Greens leader Bob Brown, who came to politics from the campaign to save Tasmania’s Franklin River in the early 80s, is closer to Cohen than he is to Rhiannon and is one of those Greens whose top priority is saving the planet. The destruction of Western capitalism lies further down the list.

I wonder whether political journalists ever actually speak to anyone in the Greens, or simply make their prognostications without any research. Because anyone who is actually involved in the Greens can tell you that it is complete crap. Lee was involved in environmental activism long before she was an MP, and Cohen first gained his activist cred in the 1980s as a peace activist in inner-city Sydney. And what the hell is a ‘blue Green’? Is Saluzinsky suggesting that Parker is somehow a more conservative Greens politician? Considering his origins in the student left, it seems slightly bizarre to extrapolate an ideology from his choice of a degree in marketing.

So if a marketing degree makes Parker a ‘blue Green’, and those of us who have backgrounds in Stalinism (?!) are ‘red Greens’, what colour are you, my fellow Stalinists?

I personally think I might by cyan.

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  1. Backgrounds in Stalinism, lol.

    I consider myself a lavender Green. It’s a soft colour that can be cool or warm depending on your mood.

    “Far-left baggage of senior Greens” is a hilarious bit of analysis as well. How many Greens MP’s are connected to Communist or socialist organisations? I’d say far more Labor MP’s would have a history in far-left politics. Michael Costa anyone?

  2. Stalinism? Talk about OTT!

    What’s it like carrying all that Stalinist baggage around? Does this mean you’re not considered Nazis any more, or is that the other faction?

    Thanks for reminding me why I don’t read the Murdoch press.

  3. Obviously Imre hasn’t done his research but I would say that if his willingness to do a deal with Student Unity at NSW NUS level many many years ago is any indication, he has a much more pragmatic streak that what one would associate with most Greens.

  4. I’m “Hulk” green (and this makes me angry… ANGRY!)

    More to the point, the idea that factions within political parties are based mainly on ideology seems pretty naive to me. Simple everyday human interaction and friendships form social bonds, not sympathies for some dead despot. Wait… that wouldn’t play to the “drama” would it?

    People in The Greens aren’t saints, they aren’t immune to disagreements and the people in it can be ambitious (which of course is a sin in this country), but the foundation of consensus decision making doesn’t really make for an environment where factions can make a difference. A faction could only really effectively stop stuff happening, which would pretty much grind the party to a halt.

  5. Well, at least it’s clear that The Australian recognises the Greens are not just a single-issue party: we want to save the planet AND end Western capitalism. There, one myth shattered!

  6. Where do Greens who jumped over from the amazing vanishing Democrats a few years ago fit in… grey Greens? πŸ˜›

  7. According to Fred Nile there are also Pink Greens.

    Personally, I’ve always liked that sort of dark green that you see on the newer hyundai’s. So I guess I’m metallic Green.

  8. The only time I’ve seen or used the terms “red-Green” and “blue-Green” is when describing the way Greens voters preference major parties in the sense that Green voters who always preference the ALP are “red-Green”, while those who always preference the Liberals are “blue-Green”.

    Hmmm, I wonder how that would work for the Nationals? Yellow-Green?

  9. Imre is right in talking about the “loose factionalism” of the Greens. There are thousands of very loose factions – I’m in the overseas residing-Essendon supporting – beer drinking Faction (I like to consider myself a VB Green).
    This “loose factionalism” is what we call ‘grassroots democracy’ isn’t it? Then I guess we are all ‘Grass Greens’ – although that terminology might be associated with the Hash Greens Faction – of whom I’m told most Greens are members of; yet strangely I have yet to meet any of them.

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